Is a Restaurant or Bar Liable for a Drunk Driver?

With all the news about the criminal trial of former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent, it is important to understand how a restaurant or bar may be held responsible if someone is injured or killed by a drunk driver.  Keep in mind that the standard of proof in a criminal trial is far greater than in a civil trial.  In a criminal trial, the state must prove criminal activity beyond a reasonable doubt.  In a case against a restaurant or a bar, the injured person’s attorney must prove negligent conduct by a preponderance of the evidence.

The basic elements of a cause of action against a restaurant or bar for serving alcoholic beverages to someone that ends up injuring or killing someone are found in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.  This is known as the Texas Dram Shop Act. This is a very complex statute, but in general a person injured by a drunk driver must prove:

(1) at the time the action occurred it was apparent to the provider of the alcohol that the individual being sold, served, or provided with an alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated to the extent that he or she presented a clear danger to himself or herself and others; and

(2) the intoxication of the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was a proximate cause of the damage suffered.

Here is an interesting article from USA Today on the Josh Brent story.

GreeningLaw, P.C. stands ready to help you or your family against restaurant/bar owners for injuries received due to their negligence.  Please contact us today.